This paper analyzes data from the published literature with the addition of some new information to explore the relationship between varanid body size and reproductive biology. Incubation time for varanid eggs is positively correlated with egg mass, neonate snout–vent length (SVL), and maximum adult snout–vent length (SVLmax). Incubation period of heavier eggs is proportionally less than for smaller eggs at 30 C. SVLmax is positively correlated with egg mass, clutch size, clutch mass, neonate body mass, and neonate SVL. Neonates of larger species have longer SVL but are smaller as a proportion of SVLmax than for smaller species. Clutch sizes are larger and more variable for larger species; however, clutch sizes for larger species relative to SVLmax are smaller than for smaller species. The intraspecific influence of maternal SVL on clutch size is greater than the interspecific influence of SVLmax on clutch size. These results suggest there are greater fitness advantages for smaller species having relatively larger offspring than for larger species, which concurs with results for snakes and other genera of lizards, as well as optimal offspring size theory. Reproductive output also appears to be influenced by maternal abdominal volume. Analysis of phylogenetically corrected data generally concurs with patterns evident in the nonphylogenetically corrected data. Body size has a much greater influence on reproductive output of Varanus than phylogeny.
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Vol. 2001 • No. 2